I won't go into too much detail, but I’ve just had to undertake a psychometric test. I’ve always been more than a little proud of my refusal to see the world in the way that others see it, and if anything, was hoping that this test would confirm I was on the spectrum that ranges between eccentric and beyond hope.
There were something like one hundred and seventy questions in the test, ranging from "I enjoy theories" to "I hate parties". As the test proceeded, so my positive responses were clustered together, as were my negative answers. So things I like (books, people, singing and watercress) all appeared in the same question, forcing me to make a distinction. Similarly, all the things I hate (golf, getting up, Wotsits and rabies) were thrown together to make me differentiate between them.
Imagine if you were asked whether you hated Wotsits more than rabies, could you decide? Rabies is nasty, but is thankfully uncommon. Wotsits, they pop up all over the place, those horrible, disgusting, floury, yellow puke pods.
At the end of all this psychometric twaddle, I had to sit in a room with an expert who told me how nuts I was. She laughed until she cried as she described the huge variations in my responses. "You are a silent loner," she said. "You sit outside of the circle, looking in. You hate Wotsits more than rabies. That's very weird."
"Ah," I replied, "but I love watercress more than singing!"
She filed my report away and told me, no, I couldn't have a copy. For once in my life, I wish I could have been normal. It must feel so good. To like parties more than poetry, and sunshine more than stationery. I can only wish.
But as I spend hours alone, making things up, it is unlikely that the outside world would consider me a balanced, rounded human being. I am not, and I don’t want to be. I want to be the eccentric that I am, because in that way the world is an endlessly entertaining series of the bizarre, the surreal and the utterly incomprehensible. If I were organised and rational, possessed of that dubious quality ‘common sense’, then I am certain I would be incapable of doing what I enjoy doing most, making things up.
From what I’ve come to understand, psychometric tests are used more and more often in business and especially in the civil service. I suppose the logical consequence of all this is that eventually the world will be controlled by robots, and the imaginative, the bizarre, the curious and the quirky will be designated ‘unnecessary’ and consigned to the rubbish tip of history.